Man, there’s a lot of audiobooks and courses out there in the Google-verse.
And each one seems to boast that its the best and brightest out there.
Can’t quite tell the winners from the losers?
Overwhelmed by the course summaries that promise everything and anything, from miraculous, overnight fluency to getting a Spanish girlfriend?
Well, you’re in the perfect place! I’ve scoured the digital shelves, waded through the muck and found 10 Spanish audiobooks that are guaranteed to satisfy your yearning for language education.
Why Audiobooks and Audio Courses Rock. Period.
There’s plenty of reasons to love audiobooks and audio courses — most of which you’ll discover on your own! Just in case you need some convincing in order to start, here are the 3 major reasons why every Spanish student should give them a try.
1. They’re cheap. And sometimes, they’re even free! So, in terms of getting value for money, good ol’ you will come away a winner!
2. They’re weightless. That is, they’re very portable and downloading one into your phone doesn’t add a single ounce to your gadget.
3. They’re timeless. Audiobooks and courses don’t get old. Their quality remains the same regardless of the number of times you play them. The voices and the lessons are perpetually crisp and clear.
If you like all that, try warming yourself up with some in-context Spanish audio practice with FluentU. It’s basically a language learning course all in itself. You’ve got videos from authentic sources, native speakers to listen to, Spanish language lessons from around the internet and interactive subtitles which show you on-screen definitions and usage examples.
Plus, FluentU provides plenty of tools to actively practice your English vocabulary and grammar, like personalized flashcards, running vocabulary lists and more—all based on the video content you’ve been watching!
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started with the list. The listed books come in no particular order, so feel free to pick exactly the right one (or three) which is compatible with your personal learning style.
The 10 Best Spanish Audiobooks and Courses to Hit the Digital Shelves
Rapid Spanish: Earworms Learning
The philosophy behind this course is simple: music can facilitate language acquisition. The CD is pumped with lessons that use musical rhythms to plant some 200 Spanish verbs and nouns in your long-term memory. The tunes are so catchy that, soon enough, you’ll find yourself singing your way to all the basics of the language. You can familiarize yourself with the Spanish accent as well, so you can begin to sound like a true native speaker. (This is a perfect starter for those who have set their sights on Spanish fluency.)
Also, anyone who travels and needs to get into Spanish fast will benefit from its sing-songy teaching style.
Learn Spanish with Paul Noble
From his many moons of experience studying languages, Paul Noble concluded that the traditional language teaching methods are both inefficient and ineffective. So, he devised memorable language tricks of his own and taught them to others. This program boasts of lessons without rote memorization, vocabulary lists, set phrases or textbooks. With its unorthodox, and sometimes counter-intuitive, teaching methods, it makes a bold “No Failure” guarantee.
It trumps all the classic excuses of not learning a new language such as “I just don’t have the time” and “It’s just too difficult!” because you’ll be learning without even trying.
The whole program is on 12 CDs, containing over 13 hours of audio featuring both European and Latin American Spanish.
Digital Spanish (Pimsleur)
Dr. Paul Pimsleur’s method is proven by millions of successful 2nd and 3rd language speakers from around the globe. It works because it focuses on the language-learning section of the brain – working intensely on transmitting language in spoken form. (During the course, you’re actively discouraged from taking notes or writing anything as this will only hurt your brain’s ability to acquire the language, surprisingly enough.)
The whole program is carefully structured so that lessons build on one another. It provides you not only with plenty of conversation practice but also explains the basic vocabulary and structures of Spanish. It teaches proper pronunciation as well as comprehension—so you’ve got all your bases covered.
If you want to understand why the Pimsleur Method actually works, why don’t you give it a try?
After that, I’m willing to bet you’ll be completely hooked. Keep the ball rolling by exploring all the other fantastic Spanish materials that Pimlseur has to offer. With any Pimsleur course, you’ll find yourself focused on fluency first and foremost, listening to a conversation and then repeating parts of it, gradually building up knowledge until you can recall the phrases that have been said when prompted.
Many Pimsleur materials do come with a reading component, too, but this is secondary and not heavily focused on. The audio is the huge selling point for them—you can use this program to learn easily and effortlessly, wherever you go. Many people use this program for learning while driving! Just let the teachers guide you from basic phrases to complete sentences. It always prompts you to listen, repeat and respond, making it highly interactive.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
Spanish Word Booster: 500+ Most Needed Words & Phrases
For those who believe in the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule) — which states that 80% of a language can be grasped just by familiarizing yourself with 20% of the words — this is the clear stand-out audiobook for you. Here, you’ve got Spanish in a distilled form, saving you from wracking your brain with words and expressions that native speakers don’t even use. This audiobook features only the most important and usable expressions.
And just like the book’s cover, this program is freaking cool. If you’re into listening to music while learning, you’ll definitely get into the beat of the lessons. By working with catchy rhythms and sounds, the brain recalls material quite easily. You could pretty much dance your way to a vocabulary of 500 of the most important words and phrases in español.
Spanish Survival Phrases (from Innovative Language – Spanishpod101)
This is a language course with cultural insights, travel tips and Spanish etiquette peppered all over. If you suddenly find yourself stuck in Spain, have no fear. This audiobook is definitely your first refuge. Ensure a most productive and hassle-free visit by having Innovative Language’s Spanish Survival Phrases. It’s an ensemble of 30 audio lessons that teach you communication tips from asking for directions to ordering food at a local restaurant.
The lessons are handled by bilingual and bicultural mentors who teach you not only pronunciation, accent and intonation – they also guide you on what it’s really like to converse with a native speaker. What you get here are language lessons in a rich cultural context.
Does this course make a difference in your language learning? Feeling your Spanish improving fast? Use this as a jumping off point and continue your Spanish learning with the full suite of quality audio programs offered by Innovative Language!
Spanish (from Living Language)
This is, hands down, one of the best audiobooks out there. The complete course covers 9 CDs, 3 course manuals and additional online lessons at the Living Language website. There are 46 lessons in total. The CDs feature dialogues, vocabulary, audio exercises and review that are more nuanced than the other courses available. Their online language lab features interactive games and challenging quizzes that reinforce the more intensive learning.
The program will benefit students of all levels. They’re so intuitively and organically sequenced that you’ll find yourself glued to the lessons.
Drive Time Spanish
Wanna turn your car into a Spanish University-on-Wheels? Drive Time accompanies you on commutes to work, daily errands or leisurely drives. It’ll turn your hours on the road into time productively spent by serving up a healthy mix of vocabulary, grammar and conversation tips. You can actually learn the Spanish equivalents of the objects you see on your drive. How’s that for multitasking?
The program comes in 4 CDs that includes simple explanations, examples and lots of conversational practice. A 64-page supplementary reading includes extensive vocabulary lists, dialogue scripts and a helpful grammar reference — all for when you’re parked, of course.
Spanish in 10 Minutes a Day
This audiobook proposes that in just 10 minutes a day, you can conquer the Spanish language. It makes good on that claim by delivering a personalized, step-by-step method of instruction where words are treated as building blocks, which then form phrases and sentences.
The CDs come with a 132-page workbook and 150 sticky labels and flashcards. The components of the set nicely complement each other, giving students a fun and easy way to learn language basics. Spanish in 10 Minutes a Day is designed not to be intimidating but instead to inspire confidence in students. All in all, it’s so much fun that you’ll probably get sucked in and end up spending 30 minutes to an hour studying every day instead of the allotted 10!
Power Spanish Accelerated (I & II)
This program is from Mark Frobose, who’s regarded as the “only living architect of a successful major language method, a major language memory technique”.
This highly enjoyable and upbeat program is chock full of memory retention techniques that keeps learners motivated. It gives students the flexibility to express complete thoughts through sentence building exercises and effective repetition. New material is interspersed with older material in order to make for a smooth learning transition. Without knowing it, and in no time, you’ll find yourself conversing in Spanish faster than with other programs.
Spanish for Dummies (by Jessica Langemeier)
From the proud line of “dummies” books comes this 3-CD set laid out in similar fashion to the last audiobook. It’s well-paced and starts out dealing with common words and phrases. It then moves to the different parts of speech, sentences and conversing in specific situations. (But don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal to skip around.)
Spanish for Dummies has an extensive word list that can help first-time Spanish learners and refreshers alike. This would be another program that would be great to listen to inside the car, turning the daily commute into a daily learning opportunity. You definitely won’t be a dummy after finishing the program.
So there you go, the 10 audiobook titles to base your Spanish language learning on. Check these programs out and pick those that best match your requirements and learning style.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.